Mumps is an inflammation of the salivary glands on the side of the face ( parotid ) due to a viral infection. This condition is characterized by swelling on the side of the face under the ear. Mumps can be contagious and generally affects children aged 5–9 years.

The parotid glands, which are located under the ears, are responsible for producing saliva. Mumps  occurs when the parotid glands become inflamed due to a viral infection from the  paramyxovirus group . The virus can easily spread to other people through splashes of saliva or saliva that comes out of the mouth or nose.

Causes of Mumps

Mumps is caused by a viral infection from the  paramyxovirus group . This virus can enter the human body and then settle, multiply, and cause inflammation and swelling of the parotid gland.

The spread of this virus can easily occur when:

  • Inhaling splashes of mucus when the sufferer  coughs , sneezes and talks
  • Make direct contact with sufferers, for example kissing
  • Touching objects around the sufferer, then touching the nose and mouth without washing hands first
  • Sharing eating and drinking utensils with sufferers

There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of getting mumps, namely:

  • Have not received  the MMR vaccine  to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella
  • 2–12 years old
  • Having a weak immune system, for example as a result of suffering from HIV/AIDS , using corticosteroid drugs  in the long term, or being on chemotherapy treatment
  • Live in or travel to an area where there are many cases of mumps

Symptoms of Mumps

Symptoms of mumps usually appear 12–25 days after infection with the virus. Mumps is characterized by swelling of the parotid glands and symptoms of an infectious disease.

The following are some of the symptoms that will arise when mumps occurs:

  • Swollen cheeks , can be only one side or both sides, due to swelling of the parotid glands
  • Pain when chewing or swallowing food
  • Fever up to 39°C
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Easily tired
  • Loss of appetite

However, in some sufferers, the symptoms of mumps can be lighter or resemble those of a  cold . Some sufferers do not even experience any symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Check with  your doctor if you or your child has the symptoms mentioned above. Early treatment can prevent complications.

An examination to the doctor needs to be done immediately if you or your child experiences more serious symptoms, such as:

  • Red eye
  • Neck feels stiff
  • Terrible headache
  • Very heavy drowsiness
  • Decreased consciousness or fainting
  • Vomit
  • seizures

Diagnosis of Mumps

The doctor will ask questions and answers about the patient's symptoms, medical history and immunizations, as well as whether there are risk factors for mumps, such as a history of interactions with people with mumps or travel to areas where mumps cases have occurred.

After that, the doctor will examine the swollen cheeks or neck of the patient, and see the condition of the patient's throat and tonsils (tonsils).

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will carry out supporting examinations in the form of:

  • Swab test on the inside of the cheek ( buccal swab ), to detect the type of microorganism that causes mumps
  • Blood tests , to detect viral infections in the blood
  • Urine test , to confirm and detect the spread of infection to the urinary tract

Mumps Treatment

If the patient's immune system is good, mumps can recover by itself within 1-2 weeks. Some ways that can be done to relieve complaints and symptoms that arise when suffering from mumps are:

  • Adequate sleep and rest time
  • Increase  drinking water
  • Compress  the swollen area with warm or cold water to relieve pain
  • Eat soft foods so you don't have to chew too much
  • Take fever and pain relievers, such as  ibuprofen  and paracetamol

Keep in mind, don't give aspirin to people with mumps, because it can actually trigger Reye's syndrome , which is a dangerous disease that can cause liver failure, brain swelling, and even death.

Mumps complications

Apart from attacking the parotid gland, the virus that causes mumps can also spread and infect other parts of the body. This spread can cause several complications, such as:

  • Inflammation of the testicles ( orchitis )
  • Inflammation of the mammary glands ( mastitis )
  • Swelling of the ovaries or ovaries (oophoritis)
  • Inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord ( meningitis )
  • Brain inflammation ( encephalitis )
  • Acute pancreatitis

In some sufferers, mumps can also cause deafness , heart problems, and  miscarriages , but these complications are very rare.

Mumps Prevention

Mumps can be prevented by giving MMR immunization ( measles, mumps, rubella ) in children. The MMR vaccine protects against  measles , mumps and  rubella .

This vaccine needs to be given to children twice, namely when the child is 18 months old and when the child is 5–7 years old. However, if the first immunization has not been carried out at the age of 18 months, the first vaccine can still be given until the child is 3 years old.

If it has never been done in childhood, the MMR vaccine can still be given in adulthood. MMR vaccine for adults is recommended for people who are at high risk of exposure to the virus that causes mumps.

People who suffer from immune system disorders or are allergic to ingredients contained in vaccines, such as gelatin or neomycin , are not recommended to undergo MMR immunization.

In addition, mumps prevention can also be done in the following ways:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water
  • Do not share bathing or eating utensils with sufferers
  • Applying cough etiquette, such as covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing

People with mumps are also advised to stay at home for at least 5 days after the first symptoms appear. This aims to prevent transmission of mumps to other people.

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